Promotion PitfallsDo you know exactly why you’re being overlooked for that promotion you’ve been putting your heart and soul into?

Do you understand how the system at your company works so that you can make it work for you—not against you—the next cycle around?

The real answer may not be so obvious.

I’ll give you a hint: It’s not because you’re not working hard enough. In fact, “work hard” is the worst career advice if you want to move up the ladder and become a top asset in your company. Because when you don’t take the other necessary steps for promotion, you’re just spinning your wheels. You need to work hard with a strategy, my dear, or not bother at all.

I’m not saying you can just breeze through your job. Of course not.

If you’re reading this post, I know you’re a hard-working, dedicated employee. You know that doing your job and doing it well is implied, but working hard in and of itself means nothing to your management or your company unless you understand what else goes into getting on the radar of your boss.



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You May Be Frustrated You Didn’t Know What I’m About to Tell You Earlier

Please don’t, and I’ll give you a good reason why: Just how are you supposed to know?

Nobody tells you this stuff when you enter the workforce. I should know; I spent 11 and a half years at a Fortune 100 company, and not once did someone tap me on the shoulder to say, “Hey! Don’t do these things or they will ruin all your hard work!”

I wish they did, but they didn’t. So I learned the hard way.

And here’s the irony: Your managers and leaders wish you knew this stuff. Behind those closed-door meetings, the stuff you don’t know is counting against you. You can work harder and harder every day, and it won’t make a difference if you’re not avoiding certain pitfalls.

The worst part about it is that you’re doing all this unintentionally.

Okay, enough with the bad news.


Let’s Turn This Ship Around and Get You Closer to Your Promotion

The good news outweighs the bad.

The uncommon career advice I’m sharing with you here is something that can help you not just move up the ladder, but even leapfrog your way to the top if you do it consistently.

The truth is that companies want smart and hard-working leaders like yourself at the top, and if you know and put these nuggets of wisdom to play in combination with your hard work, you’re grooming yourself for that promotion and raise.



5 Pitfalls to Avoid at All Cost in the Workplace


1. Gossiping About Your Management, Company or Office Politics

When you start to engage in office gossip and associate yourself with people who gossip—whether it’s inside or outside company hours—you sabotage your career. You may feel safe or consider your colleagues trustworthy, but never gossip.

You are being watched all the time, and gossip gets around. Just decline politely and step away.


2. Disagreeing with Your Boss in Public

You want to be very careful how you conduct yourself in public. If you have concerns about your boss, share them in private meetings—but in public, appear united.

Always have his back and always support him. Don’t be a show-off, even if your boss makes a mistake. It’s important to respect him and never embarrass him. How you make your boss feels plays a big part in your promotion.


3. Complaining or Playing the Part of the Victim

It’s hard to be happy in tough times and stressful situations, and I’m not saying you have to go to work with a smile on your face. I just want you to beware of becoming a nag and complaining.

It’s a big turnoff for management to hear ungrateful employees, and it does nothing to get you what you want. It only hurts your career. Instead, be positive, be professional and bite your tongue every time you feel tempted to fuss about something. This attitude goes a lot further in getting you to the top.


4. Getting Defensive When You Get Constructive Feedback

Try to apply this rule to all managers and colleagues. Even if they’re totally out of line and wrong, be able to receive feedback without getting defensive.

Separate your work from your personal feelings and create a healthy distance that allows you to receive the thoughts and opinions of others with calm and appreciation—then express your thoughts in a like manner. This is a quality companies want in their future leaders. (And that could be you!)


5. Saying You’ll Deliver on Something and Then Failing

Before you commit, are you sure you can deliver? If you have doubts, ask for more time, and make proper arrangements when you’re setting expectations as to when you will get your work done.

Because if you say you will have something by Monday and you deliver on Wednesday, you are no longer reliable in the eyes of management—and losing this credibility is a hard thing to recover from.



The Career Switch Workbook is a free resource that helps you decide whether it's time to quit your job.
Is it time to quit your job? Use our FREE workbook to decide whether to stay or go.


Parting Words

I know you’re smart. I know you’re meant to do great things with your career. So as you move up in the professional world, make sure not to overlook the small stuff that could sabotage all your amazing work. Avoiding these five pitfalls will help you stay successful as you navigate the waters of the corporate world, or any other workplace.

Now, over to you: What other career pitfalls have you learned to avoid? Share them with us in the comments!

Image: Flickr